The EU has announced that its visa waiver system called “ETIAS” will finally launch in May 2023. Changes to the rules will impact non-EU residents traveling to the bloc.
ETIAS – which stands for ‘European Travel Information and Authorisation System’ – is designed to help prevent EU citizens from potential health or security threats.
Non-residents, which includes Brits, Americans, and Australians, will have to fill out an application form and pay €7 for the authorisation before they travel to an EU country.
By next summer, anyone traveling to the EU will be refused entry if they don’t pay for a visa waiver. Additionally, the “90-day rule” means that they can spend 90 days out of 180 in countries in the Schengen Area, otherwise they will need to apply for a visa.
By checking people’s details against EU databases before travel, it’s hoped that the system will spot anyone posing a security risk and prevent human trafficking.
The ETIAS visa waiver process
According to the European Commission, the ETIAS system will be “simple, fast and visitor-friendly”/ It also says that it expects 95% of applications to be approved.
It affects anyone who isn’t a permanent EU citizen but doesn’t require a visa. Tourists, temporary workers, those visiting family or friends, and second-home owners will all need to fill in a visa waiver form before arriving in the Schengen Area.
The process itself will be mostly automated, taking approximately 10 minutes to complete the form. Applicants will need to fill in their travel details, and passport information, and answer some basic security questions before paying the €7 fee.
Most of the time, the visa waiver will be issued automatically within minutes of making the payment. However, in some cases, it could take longer and applicants have been advised to apply at least 72 hours before traveling.
After being approved for an EU visa waiver, it will be valid for three years for an unlimited number of entries to the Schengen zone.
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